The Environment Assembly of the United Nations (UNEA-2) concluded on Friday the 27th of May 2016 with the adoption of 25 resolutions.The Assembly which was attended by thousands of delegates from 174 countries,120 at the ministerial level,230 representatives of business and 400 representatives from accredited Major Groups & Stakeholders took place at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi.
With the theme being “Delivering on the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development”, far reaching decisions on issues such as Illegal trade in wildlife,air pollution and sustainable consumption and production were passed by the World’s Environment ministers.
During the week-long meeting, delegates negotiated resolutions in the Committee of the Whole (COW), which were adopted by UNEA-2 at its closing plenary.
On Illegal trade in wildlife which is pushing wildlife species to the brink of extinction,the resolution adopted contains a preambular language,inter alia, recognizing the important role that the conservation and sustainable use of wildlife can play in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and in addressing illegal trade and trafficking in wildlife through the development of sustainable and alternative livelihoods for affected communities.It urges Member States to cooperate with the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) and others to prevent, combat and eradicate the supply, transit and demand related to the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products;to make illicit trafficking in protected species of wild fauna and flora involving organized criminal groups a serious crime; and requests UNEP to continue to collaborate with CITES, ICCWC and relevant UN entities to support Member States in implementing their commitments
In addition to this UNEP launched a campaign Wild for Life: aimed at engaging members of the public to end the illegal trade in wildlife.
On Investing in human capacity for sustainable development, through environmental education and training,the resolution called on the Executive Director of UNEP, to continue providing technical assistance and capacity building through access to environmental education, training and capacity-building opportunities, including increased capacity development to help Member States to integrate the environmental dimension into their relevant curricula and promote cooperation and interaction between UNEP and the higher education community in mainstreaming environment and sustainability across education and training.
On marine litter and debris,the resolutions called on governments at all levels to further develop partnerships with industry and civil society and the establishment of public-private partnerships, and to organize and participate in annual campaigns for awareness-raising, prevention and environmentally sound clean-up of marine litter.It also called on product manufacturers and others to consider the lifecycle environmental impacts of products containing microbeads and compostable polymers including possible downstream impacts.
Emphasizing the importance of a healthy environment to healthy people.The resolution on sound management of chemicals and waste targeted actions on chemicals such as lead-exposure which claimed an estimated 654,000 lives in 2010 and causes developmental damage to young children, it called on UNEP to develop research actions that could be adopted to implement the sustainable development goals relevant to the issue. The private sector was also requested to play a bigger role in an integrated approach to the sound management of chemicals and waste and requested nations to ensure better recycling of lead-acid batteries at national or regional facilities.
Nairobi graffiti artist;Wise Two, paints using lead free paints at UNEA-2
Ministers also endorsed the draft Global Thematic Report on ‘Healthy Environment, Healthy People,’ but did not agree on a ministerial outcome document.
Member states were called upon to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance with international obligations under the international humanitarian law in relation to the protection of the environment in times of armed conflict.
The resolution also called for increased efforts and cooperation to decrease the one third of all food produced each year that is lost or wasted and committed member states to Sustainable Development Goal 12 which focuses on sustainable consumption and production.
Kayoola bus displayed at UNEA-2.It is a solar powered bus that relies on Lithium-ion batteries to power an electric motor that is coupled to a 2-speed pneumatic shift transmission.It has a range of 8okms and a rack of solar panels on its roof to harvest solar energy that is used to charge the batteries enabling an a range extension of 12km.Kayoola was designed in Uganda by Kiira Motors Corporation.
UNEA is the largest and most authoritative decision-making assembly on environmental issues of the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP).
Click here to read more about the resolutions.